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After controversy over Puerto Rico remarks, Rep. Scott Perry joins effort to aid victims

Written by Ed Mahon/The York Daily Record | Feb 9, 2018 6:46 PM
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U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-4th Congressional District (Photo: York Daily Record File)

(Undated) -- A midstate congressman who drew national attention for his comments on aid to Puerto Rico will join his Republican counterpart from Puerto Rico in a resource and information fair aimed at helping people displaced by Hurricane Maria.

In October, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry got into a heated argument with CNN host Chris Cuomo over the federal government's response to a natural disaster in Puerto Rico.

"Mr. Cuomo, you're simply just making this stuff up," Perry said during the interview, adding, "If half the country didn't have food or water, those people would be dying, and they're not." 

Philly.comThe Hill and other organizations covered the exchange. In a Facebook post later, Perry said he has empathy for the "the people of Puerto Rico and the loss and suffering they're enduring."

Hurricane Maria hit the island, a territory of the United States, in September.

In December, the New York Times reported that while the official death toll was 64, mortality data suggests the actual death toll is much higher. The article states that 1,052 more people than usual died across the island in the 42 days after Hurricane Maria made landfall.

The same month, Puerto Rico's governor ordered a review and recount of the death toll.

In Pennsylvania, state agencies have been partnering with other groups to hold information fairs for people displaced from Puerto Rico. One of those events will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 12 at Union Lutheran Church, 20 S. Penn Street in York. 

Perry will participate in Monday's event, according to organizer Lou Rivera. 

Rivera said he and other Latino leaders met with Perry after the CNN comments. "He's apologized to us. We're going to move on," Rivera said. 

Rivera said Perry's office helped event organizers get Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico's representative to Congress, to attend the event.

The event will have information about housing, employment, health, transportation, food, education and other topics. Rivera said it is open to the entire community.

In a statement, Perry said the community recently raised more than $10,000 and many needed supplies through the Puerto Rico Se Levanta drive. He called Monday's event "a great opportunity to stand united as a community and move forward."

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record. 

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